Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Ballad of Tom N’ Jim (II)

After the Fall

It wasn't the sirens or the wail of the fire truck or even the idling of his own car that woke him up- it was his snoring. He heard it and wondered who was making that noise with no thought of what it was or concept that it might be coming from his own throat. He went to open his eyes and a wave of pain so sharp and so powerful crashed over his head that he would’ve fallen over if he weren't already reclined.

He managed to pry one eye open and the thick, sticky liquid that had sealed it shut yanked the eyelashes off with a renewed burst of blood. The added red around the blackness framing his vision confused him further and he wondered if he’d fallen into a vat of oil or something. The rest of his shirt was covered in the same, thick liquid and his brain struggled to make sense of it all.

He should’ve of recognized the back seat of his own car, his own pair of legs, his own chest covered in blood with one of his own ribs making an unnatural bump in the expanse. But he didn’t.

And he didn’t recognize the sound of the police sirens as they drew closer to the mechanic’s lot where he’d parked his car among the others waiting for body repairs. Nor did he recognize the paramedics that pulled him out of the vehicle and strapped him to a board while shining small flashlights in eyes and asking questions about who he was, what had happened, if he knew what was going on. He didn’t recognize the look of disgust on the cops faces he saw in his peripheral vision as they watched the paramedics cut off his shirt and survey the damage. He didn’t recognize the street light overhead as his forehead was strapped down and neck secured. And he didn’t recognize any of the words directed at him in the chaos of noise and lights.

No, he was too distracted by one simple, thought in all the madness. That noise he heard- had it been snoring? Had he actually been asleep? ‘I’ll be damned,’ he thought to himself.

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